The technological revolution has resulted in better transportation and communications. It has also extended the limits of man’s world. The future promises are still advances, by the rate of technological growth has created, social, psychological, biological problems, must be recognized so that technology becomes a liberating than a controlling influenced in our lives.
THE SOCIAL CONTEXT
The productions and innovations of modern science and technology have been solutions to certain practical problems. The problems have often been very complicated; their solutions have just as often been extremely clever. The telegraph and telephone, wireless telegraphy and radio, colour television and communications satellites, as well as digital solutions all developed as a sequence of increasingly sophisticated devices for communicating over a distance.
A rapid review of the march of technology is rather awe-inspiring. Each new advance in communication has been marked by a steady increase in efficiency. We have been taught to call this progress and to honor it as such. Every technological advance has the potential to be used wisely or foolishly. Television can bring the wisest scholars and the most talented musicians into the average home. It can bring us close to people in other lands, let us share their joys, laughter and grief and thus build bridges of understanding between us. If, instead, television has become a salesroom for those who would persuade, corece, shame or bribe us into buying headache pills and automobiles, it is because we have not been wise enough to recognize and demand the fulfillment of its potential.
Technological innovations and advances occur within a social context. Their form and applications are shaped bu society and the new technology in turn reshapes the society into which is introduced. The method by which solutions are applied to problems and the extent to which society relies on them, rather than on alternative solutions to the same problems is a decision that the technicians and scientists cannot make alone.
Each citizen of a democracy has the responsibility to learn all he can about each significant technology innovation of his time; to present to his legislators and to the developers of the new technology his views as to how it should be used and the limitations that should be placed on its use. if such obligations sometimes seem to difficult to bear , or the effort unlikely to be effective, the alternatives have graphically presented in such works of literature as George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley Brave New World.
THE POPULATION EXPLOSION
Many of us read the words ‘population explosion’ as meaning something happening to China or in India- something that has no relevance to our lives in the West. This could not be further from the truth. In the first place, the populations of the united states and the rest of north america is growing quite rapidly enough to threaten, immediately and strongly, our country’s prosperity and the health and mental well-being of its citizens. If it hasn’t done so with the pandemic of COVID. In second place, even if we could succeed in stopping the population growth completely and at once, the growth of the rest of the world’s population would still menace us. Our nation is not entirely self-sufficient; indeed, we import more than we export each year and many of our imports are vital raw materials. As population increases in those countries which sell raw material to us, and as their industry grows, they will be less and less able to part with their natural resources.
In 1967 the population of the United States was about 200 million and the population of the world was about 3 billion. By 1980 this grew to 300 million and 4 billion in the world. By 2020 it is estimated to be around 6 billion. Such figures mean that every eight months our population is increasing by a number equal to the combined present population of Montana, Idaho, Wyomining, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Nevada. Population growth is not the same as the population growth rate. The former is an absolute measure – the actual numerical increase of the total population of a country, state or city in a given period of time. The growth rate is the ratio of the population increase to the total population. It is usually expressed as a percentage, or as the population increase per thousand people. It is important to remember that a country can have a declining growth rate and still have a rising population.
The world’s population has been increasing more or less steadily ever since the development of agricultural techniques freed man from a reliance on natural sources of food. The really spectacular increase in the growth rate has only come during the past 150 years and especially since the beginning of this century. The growth of population, then, has closely paralleled the growth of technology; and, indeed, the two are linked. As agricultural technology has found ways to feed more people, as medical technology has found ways to conquer diseases and so reduce the death rate, population increases have taken place. In the 20th century, the export of agricultural and medical knowledge to undeveloped countries has brought about a dramatic rise in their population growth rate.
Just as technology has been a partial cause of the population explosion, so we might hope that technology can provide us with means to stop the population explosion and solve the manifold social and economic problems that it has brought in its train. Communications technology, for example must be our means of making the world aware of the problems and of the new methods which medical science has found to a lower birth rates.
THE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES
As technology continues to grow and as society becomes more and more committed to the material benefits that its continued growth seems to promise, more and more of society’s institutions are altered to further and maintain that growth. The maintenance of technological growth, for example has become a major goal of government. In 1940, the United States government spent 74 million on scientific and technological research and development. This figure represented less than one per cent of the federal budget of that year. In 1966 over 16 billion was spent on research and development, an amount equal to 15 per cent of the budget. Similarly, schools have become increasingly oriented toward producing the specialist required by the technological establishment. Scientific and mechanical skills are emphasized at the expense of the traditional humanistic disciplines, and this trend has become more pronounced.
Some Critics have warned that such a concentration of educational efforts to produce the manpower required by an advanced technology may leave society with no one to direct that technology. Decisions regarding direction of technological research and the proper use of new techniques and materials must be made according to values over and above the values of accuracy, practicality and innovation instilled by a technical education. Such decision require an understanding of just that humanistic tradition which present is being underplayed in some American Schools.
Under the impact of a technologically-oriented society, not only our government and educational institutions, but also our traditional institutions have changed. The family and the church are two institutions upon which Western civilization was built. While it is probably an oversimplification to claim, as some do, that these are victims of technological advances, doomed to become increasingly irrelevant and powerless, there is no denying that technological change has tended to favor a rise in individualistic and secular values. Neither the family nor the church has the strength it once had and both must adjust to their changed positions.
Similarly, the institution of industry, once the bastion of independent initiative, now finds itself serving more and more as a single member of a giant research, development and production complex that takes its basic knowledge and creative talent from universities, and its properties, power and finances from the government.
What has all of this change meant to society itself? As more and more industries submitted to automation, technological growth was attacked as the begetter of massive unemployment. it is now clear that automation does not lead to wholesale unemployment. But it is also clear that automation, long with other technological innovations, has been a prime cause of the increasing stratification of our society. The jobs that technological advances tends to create are, by and large, jobs that demand high level of training and knowledge jobs open only to those who have had the advantage of a good education. The jobs taken over by automation, on the other hand are just those jobs that were onces the starting places on the ladder of sel-advancement, jobs requiring a bit of skill and some intelligence by no long term training or special knowledge. thoday, the well trained get the best hobs and the best pay and they are able to afford to give their children the kind of education they need to take their places in the technological society. The poorly trained on the other hand, not only get less pay or a poor job, but sometimes no job at all. Their children are all too often condemned by the poor education they receive in over crowded schools and by the high cost of specialized education to follow the same path that their parents found so limiting. In short, technological growth intensifies something that has always seemed true? ‘ The rich get richer, while the poor get poorer.’ The same rule seems to prevail on an international scale. The newly independent nations of the world, in order to share in the material wellbeing promised by industization, must send their most promising young people abroad for education. Many have stayed in the country in which they received their education since the rewards offered there are greater than those they can receive at home. There has been a steady siphoning off of the best young minds of Africa and Asia by industrialized powers in Europe and America. There have been attempts to halt the brain drain through legislation and the industrialized powers have tried to make up for it by providing technical aid and assistance to the under-industrialized powers.
Legalization makers of the UK did not understand what Brexit has done to Britain when it comes to the technology front. They were unaware of the talent that was contributing to their technological facilities was actually all from europe and abroad. They have no technological talent within Britain. The United Kingdom does serve a purpose for the technology world. Data Farms. They built this facility for other countries to use and take advantage of, purly to be just a bank of information of some sorts. The rest of technology build comes from abroad. The national reading average of a english individual is 8 years old. They employ their workforce based on their GSCE exam marks which many have to go back to college to go and do in order to be up to some working standard in order to perform the simplest administrative and clerical duties. With the emergence of better digital solutions, it is no longer required to have these individuals in the workforce. In our current climate most industries require you to have a basic understanding of computer science and sensitivity to cultural differences and acceptance of a Glocal Society.
The Psychological Effects
In a Student protest in 1980 on the grounds of the University of California at Berkeley, a coed carries a sign” I am a Human Being: Do not gold, simple or Mutilate. The look on her face is defiant, by also pleading. the sign she carries is a desperate cry for recognition from a society which seems increasingly to e sacrificing the conviencien and individuality of its human member to the needs of its machines. How much things have changed since then. We now have Humans willingly wanting to sacrifice themselves to be more of a bionic computer. This helps with the understanding of the mind extension of internalism and externalism. Is the smartphone a better representation of the extension of the mind or the computer?
Some psychological results of technological innovation are direct and easily observed. the feeling of disorientation after a long jet flight for example seems to result from the upsetting of the inner clocks which tells us when to feel hungry and when to feel tired. Other results of technological growth and innovation are not so well understood. Some psychologists for example, see the inhabitants of our larger cities the development of patterns of behaviour similar to those which develop in rats kept too long in overcrowded cages. The patterns of behaviour produced by such crowing stress involve increased hostility and irritability; a tendency towards stereotyped patterns of irrational activity and the increase in self destructive actions. Biological effects increase in self destructive actions. Biological effects increase in self-destructive actions biological effects of crowding stress include an increase in high blood pressure and greater susceptibility to infection.
It may be that crowding stress is a cause of the increasing occurrence of neuroses and psychoses in city dwellers, and much of the violence that plagues many of our cities. By far the most characteristic psychological result of technological innovation, however, is the feeling especially among our youth, which psychologists label as ‘alienation’. Surveying the world which they are about to enter, students like the girl with the sign see ahead of them fewer and fewer jobs which promise the kind of personal challenge and reward they would like to dins in their life’s work. it is true that the elite- the decision-makers the investors, the research scientists continue to find such rewards. but or the majority of young people. the future seems to promise nothing that justifies the ideals or reinforces the values they learned in college. They work as technicians, programmers, salesmen, managers or clerks. Or they can try, by becoming teacher or social workers, to ameliorate the social ills that seem inherent in our technological system. For most young people, however, the future seems to offer little chance for them to achieve individual recognition and nothing that promises to rard a passionate commitment. Alienation takes many forms. The girl carrying the sign is but a old manifestation of it. Other forms include withdrawal from society into a fantasy world of drugs or neurosis, and rebellion against society through lawlessness or actively anti-establishment political behaviour. The various words of newspapers coin to describe the alienated- ‘beatniks, ”hoods’, ‘hippies – may conceal , but only for a time, the fact that alienation is endemic in our technological society and that it may become more widespread as the factors which cause it to become more widespread.
As the gap between the technological elite and the ordinary worker becomes wider, and as the jobs available to the ordinary worker become more mechanical, alentation will increase. As personal contact with teachers, clerks and telephone operators is replaced more and more by button-pushing card punching and recorded messages, alienation will increase. With the pandemic of COVID this pushed Alienation to its peak, triggering of a complete dissonance and awareness of the space around you. With the enforcement of locking down individuals helped eliminate completely physical anti-social behaviour. Focusing more on a disease, made one more aware of their physical life-sustainment needs such as hygiene, something a computer cannot do for you.
As leisure time increases, in a society which is conditioned to think of idleness as a sin and which knows little about using leisure time of modern man has invented many and wonderful machines to give him the goods and products that he wants and to do his work for him. Now he must turn his genius to making the world of material affluence a world in which his mind and spirit can also enjoy a world of plenty.